A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781101191316
  • 512 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


In 1971 former Cold War hard-liner Daniel Ellsberg made history by releasing the Pentagon Papers-a 7,000-page top-secret study of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam-to the New York Times and Washington Post. The document set in motion a chain of events that ended not only the Nixon presidency but the Vietnam War. In this remarkable memoir, Ellsberg describes in dramatic detail the two years he spent in Vietnam as a U.S. State Department observer, and how he came to risk his career and freedom to expose the deceptions and delusions that shaped three decades of American foreign policy. The story of one man’s exploration of conscience, Secrets is also a portrait of America at a perilous crossroad.


American Book Award – winner


“[Ellsberg’s] well-told memoir sticks in the mind and will be a powerful testament for future students of a war that the United States should never have fought.” (The Washington Post)

“Ellsberg’s deft critique of secrecy in government is an invaluable contribution to understanding one of our nation’s darkest hours.” (Theodore Roszak, San Francisco Chronicle)

Table of Contents


Part I

Prologue: Vietnam 1961

1.   The Tonkin Gulf: August 1961
2.   Cold Warrior, Secret Keeper
3.   The Road to Escalation
4.   Planning Provocation
5.   ”Off the Diving Board”: July 1965
6.   Joining the Foreign Legion
7.   Vietnam: The Lansdale Team
8.   Travels with Vann
9.    Losing Hope
10.  Rach Kien
11.  Leaving Vietnam

Part II

12.   Jaundice
13.   The Power of Truth
14.   Campaign ’68
15.   To the Hotel Pierre
16.   The Morality of Continuing the War
17.   War Resisters
18.   Extrication
19.   Murder and the Lying Machine

Part III

20.   Copying the Papers
21.   The Rand Letter
22.   Capitol Hill
23.   Leaving Rand
24.   Kissinger
25.   Congress
26.   To the New York Times
27.   May Day 1971
28.   Approaching June 13
29.   Going Underground

Part IV

30.   The War Goes On
31.   The Road to Watergate
32.   End of a Trial

Works Cited

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